The EV battle is just getting started.
GM is no longer America's best-selling automaker. That honor currently belongs to Toyota. But GM doesn't view Toyota as its main long-term rival. No, GM is going for something even bigger with more substantial long-term benefits. CEO Mary Barra told CBS Mornings last week, following the announcement of a $7 billion investment to build EVs in Michigan, that it wants "to lead in EVs. Full stop."
According to Automotive News, Tesla currently has an estimated 72 percent of the US EV market and Barra wants to change that by "mid-decade." New EVs, such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV and Cadillac Lyriq will help lead the charge, no pun intended. Trucks and SUVs have long been a central core of GM's profit source and Barra intends to keep it that way with battery-electric trucks.
"We know the demand is here," Barra said. "We have had great response from hundreds of thousands of customers interested in our EVs that we've already shown. Our EV rollout plan represents the broadest EV portfolio of any automaker and fully establishes our path toward EV leadership."
At present, the only affordable EVs that GM sells are the Chevy Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, though their assembly line has been idled since August due to a battery fire concern and resulting recall. The aim is to have production back online shortly. But Barry also understands the critical importance of GM controlling essential EV components, specifically batteries, instead of relying on suppliers. That's why GM is continuing and expanding its partnership with LG Energy Solution. A new $2.6 billion battery plant will soon begin construction in Lansing, Michigan.
Two additional plants for the GM's proprietary Ultium batteries are being built in Ohio and Tennessee. If a fourth is needed then GM will build it.
Come 2035, GM aims to have convert at least half of its North American assembly plants to building EVs. This includes the Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico that will build the electric Chevy Equinox and Blazer starting in 2023. It's possible that fourth battery plant will be needed in the American southwest in order to shorten the supply route. Meanwhile, GM will continue retooling existing plants to get them ready for what's to come. Tesla may have cracked the EV code back in 2008 with the original Roadster, but legacy automakers like GM are getting locked and loaded for the next battle.